The Duke of Cambridge’s best friend William van Cutsem was ‘searched in his pajamas by the police’ during a raid on his Norfolk estate to investigate illegal game
- Prince George’s godfather William van Cutsem was frisked on getting out of bed
- Officers were looking for signs that game wardens were illegally killing wildlife
- Officers found no evidence of wrongdoing but Mr Van Cutsem was ‘shaken’
- A friend told the Mail on Sunday that the 42-year-old suspected a former employee
Prince William’s best friend was searched in his pajamas by police during a raid on his Norfolk estate to investigate the illegal gamekeeper.
William van Cutsem, godfather to Prince George, was searched on his doorstep during a 10.30pm raid on farm buildings on the Hilborough House estate near Swaffham nine days ago.
Officers were looking for signs that game wardens on the 4,400-acre property had used illegal methods to kill wildlife that posed a threat to the estate’s famous herd of wild partridges.
Mr Van Cutsem, pictured with Prince William (right) in 2009, is Prince George’s godfather
It is illegal to target protected birds of prey such as buzzards or to use expired traps and poison to eliminate predators.
Game wardens in Hilborough use lawful methods to control vermin, including shooting foxes and trapping crows.
Officers left having found no evidence of wrongdoing, but Mr Van Cutsem was reportedly ‘shaken’ by the incident, which saw him ‘searched in his pajamas’ outside his New Georgia mansion.
A friend told the Mail on Sunday that the 42-year-old suspected a malicious complaint had been made by a disgruntled former employee who was also said to have made baseless accusations on a community Facebook page.
Mr Van Cutsem’s niece Grace was affectionately dubbed the ‘grumpy bridesmaid’ for covering her ears on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011. Another niece, Florence, was a bridesmaid at Prince Harry’s wedding.
The Queen’s Sandringham estate is 24 miles from Hilborough House and the Van Cutsems are mainstays of the Royals’ “Turnip Toff” social ensemble.
Mr. Van Cutsem was awakened by police officers at 10.30 p.m. Her luxurious home, Hilborough House in Norfolk, is just 24 miles from the Queen’s favorite estate, Sandringham.
Mr Van Cutsem’s father, Hugh, a friend of Prince Charles, was a passionate banker and environmentalist who died in 2013.
Prince William is a regular visitor to the Hilborough Estate, which has won awards for its conservation work and is considered one of the world’s leading wild bird seedlings.
Friends fear the association with the royal family could make the Van Cutsems an easy target for criticism, and a source close to him said Hilborough had been praised by the RSPB, the wildlife charity, for the protection of endangered species, including curlews, lapwings and gray partridges. .
A friend of William van Cutsem (pictured with his wife Rosie) said he was ‘shaken’ by the confrontation
Last night Mr Van Cutsem described his recent run-in with the law as ‘hugely disappointing’ and ‘entirely avoidable’.
Norfolk Police have confirmed they have received an allegation of an offense under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
A spokesperson added: ‘Officers from the Operation Randall Rural Crime Team have been in the woods near the A1065 in Hilborough. Investigations are ongoing.